The Flier’s Wall Ring

November 11th, 2009 by James L. Sweaney, CGA, FGA. GG
The Flyer's Wall Ring

The Flier's Wall Ring

In honor of Veteran's Day, I thought posting this blog would be appropriate! We just completed a challenging assignment– to build a unique ring that would celebrate the famous aviators of the Flier's Wall at the Mission Inn. Our client, who grew up in Riverside and is a great fan of things relating to the Mission Inn, is planning to get his pilot's license. What better way to display his wings than on his finger!

Dedicated in 1932 by Frank Miller, builder and owner of the Mission Inn, the International Shrine of Aviators encompasses the Saint Francis Chapel and it's beautiful Atrio. Along the left side of the chapel doors is the Famous Flier's Wall, decorated with over 150 pairs of 10-inch copper wings, each dedicated to an individual flier or group of fliers.

Jimmy Doolittle's wing

Jimmy Doolittle's wings

Wings for Orville Wright, Eddie Rickenbacker, Amelia Earhart, Charles Lindbergh, Jimmy Doolittle, Chuck Yeager, and most recently, Buzz Aldrin, commemorate the history of American aviation. MIA POW's and Medal of Honor aviators are specially honored.

Our concept was to make a ring that would combine the wings of the Flier's Wall with the Raincross, originally the logo of the Mission Inn. We started with a signet style– the flat top would accomodate the wings– and then enhanced the outline to reflect the Mission Revival style of the Inn. We had a similarly shaped ring in our Raincross Collection, so we knew the treatment would work well.

Design Concept for Flier's Wall Ring

Original Design Sketch for Flier's Wall Ring

With input from our client, we refined the shape, subtly curving the top to follow the finger.

Flyer's Wall X axis2

The main body of the ring and the wings are cast in 14K rose gold, which is correct for the Retro period, i.e. 1940's. During WWII, silver was a strategic metal, so it's use was restricted. As a result, most of the karat gold items from the 40's have a high copper content and very little silver, hence the rich warm rosy tone. Our client loved the suggestion to use rose gold.

He asked us to pave' the entire field around the wings with diamonds. To show the diamonds to maximum effect, we made the pave surface of 14K white gold. We set over 50 high quality diamonds and boy, do they sparkle!

A Lot of Pave'!

A Lot of Pave'!

As you can see by this sizing photo, the wings are tiny but quite accurate. Without our trusty CAD/CAM system and especially the skill of our CAD wizard, Jenny Sweaney, we wouldn't have been able to execute the design so successfully.

Flyer's Wall size2

Actual Size!

At Mardon Jewelers, we specialize in creating unique pieces like this wonderful ring. We welcome interaction from our clients, especially when developing original designs, because jewelry is really about personal expression. Our Custom Design Department is ready when you are!

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